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Quantum algorithm for simulating the dynamics of an open quantum system

By Hefeng Wang, S. Ashhab and Franco Nori


In the study of open quantum systems, one typically obtains the decoherence dynamics by solving a master equation. The master equation is derived using knowledge of some basic properties of the system, the environment and their interaction: one basically needs to know the operators through which the system couples to the environment and the spectral density of the environment. For a large system, it could become prohibitively difficult to even write down the appropriate master equation, let alone solve it on a classical computer. In this paper, we present a quantum algorithm for simulating the dynamics of an open quantum system. On a quantum computer, the environment can be simulated using ancilla qubits with properly chosen single-qubit frequencies and with properly designed coupling to the system qubits. The parameters used in the simulation are easily derived from the parameters of the system+environment Hamiltonian. The algorithm is designed to simulate Markovian dynamics, but it can also be used to simulate non-Markovian dynamics provided that this dynamics can be obtained by embedding the system of interest into a larger system that obeys Markovian dynamics. We estimate the resource requirements for the algorithm. In particular, we show that for sufficiently slow decoherence a single ancilla qubit could be sufficient to represent the entire environment, in principle.Comment: 5 figures, two table

Topics: Quantum Physics
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1103/PhysRevA.83.062317
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